Closing a Public Meeting Under Minnesota’s Open Meeting Law
Under the Minnesota Open Meeting Law (the “OML”), a public body’s meetings must be open to the public unless the OML or another Minnesota law provides an exemption that allows or requires a meeting to be closed. A list of exemptions stated in the OML can be found at the end of this post. Closing a public meeting means that any materials, like a privileged legal report or a document containing confidential information, and discussions related to the closed meeting aren’t open to the public.
Closed meetings are conducted similar to open meetings. Like open meetings, adequate notice must be provided for closed meetings and, except for meetings closed by attorney-client privilege, closed meetings must be recorded, and the recording must be preserved for at least three years. In addition, the OML sets forth specific procedural requirements for discussion of certain issues or topics in a closed meeting.
Failure to properly conduct a closed meeting may result in a penalty of up to $300, and multiple violations may result in a person being forced to resign from a public body. In addition, a court may award reasonable costs, disbursements, and reasonable attorney fees to a prevailing party (i.e., losing party pay’s the winner’s costs).
Exemptions Allowing or Requiring the Closing of a Public Meeting:
Bradley Werner, LLC is located in Woodbury, MN and serves clients in and around Newport, Lake Elmo, South Saint Paul, Afton, Saint Paul Park, Cottage Grove, Lakeland, Inver Grove Heights, Saint Paul, Willernie, Dakota County, Ramsey County and Washington County.
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